Every once in a while an idea comes along that is so simple, but so profound, that you have to stop and consider it. Last week in our local paper a book was profiled that is exactly that - simple, yet profound.
The book is Choosing Civility: The twenty-five rules of Considerate Conduct. You can find it on Amazon here if you are interested. What's interesting to me about this is that is has all of the features and characteristics of books like "Everything I need to know I learned in kindergarten" and others of that ilk.
The book is basically a compendium of sayings that are meant to help each of us live in a way that treats others as we'd want to be treated. The author's goal was to help people to be "kind human beings". A lot of the sayings in the book will seem obvious and repetitious on first reflection. To wit:
- Pay attention
- Acknowledge others
- Think the best
- Be inclusive
- Speak kindly
- Don't speak ill
- Accept and give praise
And so forth. Really, everything you should have learned in Sunday School or Kindergarten or some other place. However, work, job pressure, life's demands and a host of other challenges often drive out these motivations and they are replaced with ones that are often "me-centric". For example, when I am in a hurry, I always wonder why all these crazy drivers won't just get out of my way. I guess when I'm not in a hurry, there's another driver thinking the same thing about me.
The author's point is not that we don't know these things, but that we don't PRACTICE these things. His goal, I think, is to bring all of us back to the basics. If each of us took a little more time practicing these concepts - no matter how obvious, no matter how small - then perhaps we can all function a little more effectively in life.
Many of us constantly seek the Grand Unifying Theory - the one philosophy or concept that brings it all together and provides the final insight. Perhaps it's really just a handful of simple rules that will make us all more productive, effective, civil and happy.